Saturday, July 26, 2014
Quick Draw McGraw — Big Town El Kabong
Credits: none. Written by Mike Maltese, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Quick Draw McGraw, Baba Looey, Paperboys, Mexican Man, Subway Conductor – Daws Butler; Narrator, Wily Witty, Elevator Operator – Don Messick; Mexican Woman, Lady Lavishly – Jean Vander Pyl.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
First Aired: 1961-62 season.
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-045, Production J-126.
Plot: In the big city, El Kabong interrupts his vacation to capture Wily Witty, the jewel thief.
The West of Quick Draw McGraw is a strange land. It’s kind of like the Old West, but it’s not. There are steam locomotives, but there are modern (1959 model) jeeps. There are adobe haciendas but there are cities with modern (1959 model) skyscrapers. Somehow, it all works so you don’t really notice unless you think about it.
There were only new six Quick Draw cartoons in our hero’s final season of first-run shows. Three featured El Kabong, which perhaps gives you an idea how much Mike Maltese loved Quick Draw’s alter ego. Maltese tried to put a different spin on this one by plunking Quick Draw/El Kabong (for the only time) in a New York City-like metropolis. But there’s a lot that’s familiar, too. The bad guy has the same voice (by Don Messick) and similar character design as a bunch of bad guys in cartoons through the ‘60s (early Iwao Takamoto influence?). The cartoon opens with a poem expounding on life in El Pueblo. The narrator chats with the characters on screen. And the climactic scene reminds me of Baseball Bugs (also written by Maltese), where Bugs Bunny gets on a cab and a bus to chase after a fly ball. Here, El Kabong and Wily Witty clash with swords in a duel that takes then down an elevator and into a subway car, ending with a taxi ride (as you might expect, Baba Looey is somehow behind the wheel of the cab and drives the bad guy right into prison). Best of all, any on-lookers aren’t fazed by the fight in front of them. It is the big city, after all.
There are no credits on the various versions of this cartoon I’ve been able to see. Earlier on the blog, opinions were expressed by people who know this kind of thing better than I do that either Hicks Lokey or Harry Holt animated it. Whoever it is draws a lot of dialogue starting with the head looking forward, then raising it for a total of four positions.
As for character design, Lady Lavishly has a variation on the Wilma Flintstone bun.
And incidental characters have dots for eyes.
Some Maltese fun. Here’s the poem:
The town of El Pueblo was peaceful and calm.
Vanished forever was cause for alarm.
(Paperboy: “Extry, extra! Nothin’ but good news! Extry!”)
The town had been cleansed of villains and wrong
By the mysterious masked rider, El Kabong.
The most villainous villain was called Wily Witty.
From El Pueblo he came to work the big city.
After Quick Draw bumps into Witty in disguise:
Quick Draw: Garsh. I’m sure sorry, Don Juan.
Baba Looey: Say, Quickstraw. I theen that Don Juan look like Wily Witty, the jewel crooks.
Quick Draw: So what? Villains need vacations, too, you know.
Baba (to audience): With two weeks stolen pay, I theen.
During the ball:
Lavishly: Are you sure you’re not the real Don Juan? (giggles)
Witty: You dance divinely. Your feet barely touch the ground.
(cut to sight gag of Lavishly’s feet on top of Witty’s shoes).
Incidentally, Jean Vander Pyl lets out a great screech when Lady Lavishly notices her priceless Sultana pendant is gone. Messick's casual “What pendant?” is great, too.
Maltese or Hoyt Curtin or Bill Hanna sure loved the William Tell Overture. There’s a xylophone version of it which accompanies the sword scene. You’ll know much of the rest of the music from the Loopy, Touché and Wally cartoons, or the Flintstones, including that cue which ends with the minor key “Shave and a Haircut.”
Note: Only three Quick Draw McGraw title cards contained the words “Hanna-Barbera.” This is one of them.